What an amazing end to the month of June! As we celebrated the Supreme Court's decisions relating to equal marriage I was moved, once again, by how good it is to be in community with people who strive to live their lives around our seven principles. I can't think of a better example of living our first principle than standing for those who are treated as lesser by our society, those who are denied equal rights. I am so grateful to the Supreme Court for declaring at least one provision of DOMA as unconstitutional and for sending the Prop 8 question back to the District Court which had already declared it unconstitutional. The speedy reinstatement of equal marriage in the state of California by the lifting of the ban imposed by the 9th District Court [during the time the case was taken to the higher court] was another joyous event, topped only by the refusal of the Supreme Court [through Justice Kennedy] to consider a request that it act to insist the ban stay in place for 25 days. All of these actions speak of a dedication to the ideal that every person should be treated with respect for their worth and dignity.
Now it is incumbent upon us to live out our second principle: support for the ideal of promoting justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations. All three of those terms call us to stand for the right of every person to hold their own beliefs. That includes those who disagree with us on important matters of principle. While we do not have to give in to their beliefs when they oppose ours, we need to remember the pain we have felt when society's actions and decisions go against our beliefs and understandings. Compassion requires us to treat them with sympathy as they struggle with the Court's decision, even while we stand firm for the rights that we have been working for. We have "won" this battle, but we can have compassion for those who are unhappy about that fact.
And our sixth principle [supporting the goal of a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all] calls us to continue to work for a world in which no one is oppressed. There is still work to do for marriage equality: 37 states and many countries do not recognize the right of marriage for all. There are important issues of oppression that still exist in regard to race, ethnicity, ageism, ableism, and many other oppressions, as well as the fact that marriage equality by itself does not eliminate homophobia from our society. Our work for immigration reform is an important, ongoing battle that calls us to stand for another group of people who are being oppressed. And even if we solve all those problems, there are problems of hunger, homelessness, and other devastating consequences of poverty in a world where so many have so little and the few who have so much frequently turn a blind eye. I could go on and on, but I know I don't need to. You know that our task is far from complete. So celebrate for a bit, then take a deep breath, and let's go back to work!
As it so often does, it all comes down to love! And trite though it may sound, I believe that "love conquers all." It takes time -- perhaps more time than we have -- but if we keep our "eyes on the prize" [a world without oppression], we will, at the very least, make progress.
In the meantime, may you